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School Takes No Notice Of Our Folders


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One of my employees children starts school next year and has been visiting her new school. My colleague asked the new teacher if she wanted to see her folder from pre-school and her reply was that they would read through them but they do their own observations from scratch and so would not be used as a basis for their assessment. Another teacher form school came to see our Nativity and I asked her the same question and she gave the same answer - so my question is what is the point in going through all of this paperwork and making all of these observations on children if the schools are not taking any notice of them anyway is it all just so we can receive our funding? it seems like an awful lot of work when they are just going to be disregarded as soon as they start school.

 

We feel a little bit let down really, my staff and I have been aiming to produce a really good tool for teachers to see how a child has progressed within their time with us but the teacher I spoke to said they had to see them doing the steps for themselves and they could not go by our word - how dissappointing for us all.

 

Debs

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When I spoke to the nursery teachers at my childrens school they gave pretty much the same answers you got, they also added that while some preschools info was accurate other preschools unfortunately weren't. They felt it was easier to reassess the children again themselves. Of all the local schools we feed into they are only one that finds the time to visit us and ask questions about the children transferring into them. We now concentrate on doing the folders for the parents.

 

Karrie

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Unfortunately we have had the same response to our folders!! It is very disapointing! If we really are doing it just for the parents what is the point of using some of the wording that we use (a trifle confusing for the practitioners let alone the parents!) and why do we have to fill in the Record of Achievement to go on to the schools!

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Guest MaryEMac

Last year I spoke to our reception teacher and she said that there was no way that she could go through all the achievement records of new children and that all she really wanted was a brief outline of what the children had done in each area of learning and a general description of the child and how they had coped in playgroup. So we gave the parents the record of achievement plus a general report( which we copied for school,with parental permission).

We have since spoken to our EYFSA who said that the records of achievement were for our benefit and needn't be sent home to parents. She said to just make sure that we took photos for evidence and they could go home so that parents could see what their child had achieved.

This makes sense because I have always said that the parents find these records difficult to understand ( I do sometimes!!)

 

Mary

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Oops!

 

Our feeder schools have told us how grateful they are for our developmental records - they actually ask parents who forget!

 

And we have YR teachers visit the nursery to see the children in a familiar environment! Is this another Gold Star for Nottm City??

 

Sue

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Well I always read anything that I get sent from previous settings.

 

It is not always easy though to equate observations to profile points as evidence. But if children are transferring within the reception year, ie the year in which they have their 5th Birthday, I would hope to have something usable sent on.

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our reception teacher "bungs them into a drawer without even opening them so don't waste your time and effort on them" was how the TA responded to my query about whether they were useful to the new teacher.................................so, what do I do now???My guess is that of course, I still have to complete them but if no-one even opens them, what a waste of time!

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I look at and read the files I get from my pre schools.... although I get very few as they go to parents and even when I ask I rarely get to see them.... I have children from a range of settings and try to visit the main ones to talk to staff and visit the children.

 

We have found some of the private settings filling in the profile and marking the children off on th ELGs or beyond when they aren't and I always talk to those parents about this and exlain the differences I have found.... but it is useful to build up a picture of the children....

 

Plese don't stop doing them

 

L

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We do two copies, one for the parents to keep and one for the schools which we send directly to them, I also do a one page report about each child but the schools have told us they don't use them, they do their own assessments, makes me wonder why we bother!!!!!!!!!!!! I spent hours last june doing them as i had 16 children going to school.

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As far as I am aware it is not s statutory requirment to send 'records of transfer' from preschool to schools, however, when the new EYFS comes into place it will be a mandatory requirement.

 

We produce a 'scrapbook' of achievements which is for the child, and a 'record of transfer' which is for the parents ( 1 copy) and school (1 copy). Th ROT's are written to the six areas of learning showing current level and next steps, we also try very hard to communicate the childs 'learning style', and embrace the childs personality and strengths.

I spoke to a teacher recently who said she did appreciatte the reports but also did her own assessments. The reason for her own assessments was because she finds that some of the children respond differently within a school context. Larger adult child ratio for example. A child in a preschool may have a report saying they function independently, self selecting and making own choices and directing own learning, this may be because the child feels secure, confident and very familiar with his/her surroundings and adults he/she knows well after a period of two years. Place this child in a class of 30 children with 2 adults and he/she may respond in a similar way, however he/she may also be initially totally overwhelmed and need support to become confident and familiar again. This is what the teacher needs to assess, to then be able to offer the required support.

 

I also find doing the ROT's very useful for my staff and I to evaluate our long term plans, have we covered all areas sufficiently. In previous years by doing the reports it has highlighted a need to focus more on maths and KUW, we then put in place in-service training for staff to develop their skills in 'teaching' these areas of the curriculum.

Most of all, as the owner when I read all the ROT's I get a great sense of achievement in seeing how well the children have done and recalling all the different ways they have enjoyed learning whilst with us.

 

Peggy

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I spoke to a teacher recently who said she did appreciatte the reports but also did her own assessments. The reason for her own assessments was because she finds that some of the children respond differently within a school context. Larger adult child ratio for example. A child in a preschool may have a report saying they function independently, self selecting and making own choices and directing own learning, this may be because the child feels secure, confident and very familiar with his/her surroundings and adults he/she knows well after a period of two years. Place this child in a class of 30 children with 2 adults and he/she may respond in a similar way, however he/she may also be initially totally overwhelmed and need support to become confident and familiar again. This is what the teacher needs to assess, to then be able to offer the required support.

 

Peggy

 

 

I agree with this Peggy.

Before we became a FSU even the children in our attached nursery sometimes didn't demonstrate in reception things we had seen them doing in the summer term in nursery so transferring from a completely different setting can influence children even more.

Im not sure if its the same in all LAs but our records from DNs have to be validated by a QT

 

 

 

Can I just say its nice to see you Peggy I was getting worried you were so quiet!

Edited by Marion
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It's an old chestnut really, isn't it (Here's a scavenger hunt question - where in the forum is chestnut preparation a dangerous sport?) For every pre- schooler who says that the schools (ALL of them????) don't want their records there's a reception teacher saying that the pre schools (again ALL of them??) don't pass anything on because it's all sent home to the parents............. :o .

 

The same dilemma goes on in school too - have you ever been around Y1 teachers trying to get their heads around 30 FSP folders. I don't actually think the next adult in the chain necessarily needs all the minutiae and detail e.g pages of narrative observations etc , the current adults need that to make the judgements and to inform our planning etc. What the next person needs is the key info succinctly presented to carry on at a suitable level. So for example a Y1 teacher needs knowledge of the scale points that a child attained but they don't necessarily need the details of how they achieved it - it's enough surely to know they have and trust in the judgement of our fellow professionals about the how.

 

So all the work on the records isn't for the next person - it's for the current people (Parent's children, practitioners...) really. So it's NEVER wasted time and effort.

 

Just a thought xD

Cx

Edited by catma
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We dont actually pass observations childrens work folders etc to Y1 just our Flying Start data (LA version of FSP but broken down into smaller steps) and a copy of the childs targets from the end of summer term parental report.

neither do we get anything other than the Flying start data from pre reception settings. It cerainly makes it easier to see where children are and to plan for them

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Hi

that was interesting reading from everyone.

 

It just seems to me that the stepping stone matrix is worded so terrible that most of our parents wouldn't know what their child had achieved anyway (we find some of the wording a bit overwhelming ourselves for some of it) when you speak to parents what they really want to know is who they play with and if they are fitting in well so who are these sheets really for?

 

The schools or I should say the school that our pre-school feeds into don't want to use them a help towards assessing children ( colleague of mine agrees with some of the other posts on here that they are probably not going to want to read through 30 of these files when they have enough work of their own to do) and the parents are just happy if little 'fred' is playing nicely with the other children so we seem to be doing all of this paperwork and no one is really getting any benefit from them.

 

it is just so disheartening, I mean I went to playschool I didn't have all of these assessments made on me and i have turned out just fine - yes I can see that we have to prove that we are doing something for the NEG but surely there must be a better way than filling in sheets that no one in particular finds very useful.

 

Debs

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When children start at our setting we make informal notes and highlight achievement on FSP.We originally started doing this because we HAD to but now we all find it useful for planning. Parents can see what stage their child is at and if they want to they can continue to help them at home. Parents like to see HOW we done it because it gives them ideas what to do at home. When a child leaves pre-school we give them the FSP, together with evidence of how we have done, informal observations and photos. An abbreviated version is sent to the childs school with a small report. These don't take us long to do as long as the childs profile is kept updated during their time with us.Our feeder schools are very grateful to receive these.

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This year we asked all our feeder schools [about 6 of them] whether they wanted a full copy of the children's records - anecdotes marked against the stepping stones mostly - and they all said yes. So with parental consent they were sent photocopies - parents kept the original. I know of one case where this information coupled with the discussion we had when the teachers visited resulted in one child being put in a mixed Reception/Year 1 class rather than a straight YR class, because it was clear at preschool that she is likely to come into the gifted & able category for mathematics. She can already count to 100 in 2s and 10s, for instance, and was achieving in Key Stage 1 areas before she left us. So it can work.

Edited by Guest
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its frustrating when so much time and effort is made to plan observe and record and then at the end of the day the parents cannt read it and the teachers (not all of them) dont want them and the question emerges "why an I bothering?"

 

there seems so many stepping stones to observe and monitor and how many ELG's are there in total? yes its true they didnt do it in my day when I was little we where allowed to play and the staff knew how to provide a stimulating environment but they where mostly doing it voluntary and the early years was not valued as a stage in education and there was no funding

 

why do we put so much effort into these files? To be completely honest I think there is a certain amount of ego and pride when we hand the files on secretly we would love to hear the school say "wow children learn a lot while they where in your setting" but in reality we are forgotten, we want to show that we are professional we know our job, our children and to demonstrate to anyone who asks, that the early years is important because "look at all the development these children have achieved while in our care." we are no longer the unpaid volunteers of yesteryear

 

When I did my degree I chose to look at the transition into school and one of the things I spoke to the teachers about was the development folders and how helpful they are most of the comments made have already been mentioned already in this discussion

such as the reliability of the information - the children perform differently in the different environments (nursery and school), staff judgments are not all the same, the new teacher has to see for themselves and get to know the child (blank canvas),

the transfer information needs to be managible to read/ understand, its difficult to read 30 new childrens reports

 

from what I found the majority of preschool development folders where not used in the way preschool staff hoped, the teaching staff said that it was impossible to read so many folders in such detail and that a single overview sheet for each child was best but the development records where a point of reference should a teacher need to monitor a child in the future.

 

so dont be disheartend when schools dont use them in the way we think they should you have provided the information. If you dont already do so, consider providing a simplified over view sheet and dont send too much additional evidence (observations, photos, art work) we dont send anything other than the development record to schools, all art work and photos go to parents and most observations are shreaded

 

at the end of the day the folders are for us, they are a work in progress to aid planning I dont think I could plan effectivly without them. They are also to help to monitor each childs progress, to enable us to feed back to parents about the childs needs,

 

we all know that childrens art work the process is often more important than the finished product likewise think of the development files as a a tool rather than product

 

Merry Christmas everyone

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Hi all, we had a major upheaval a couple of years ago when our Early Years Advisors informed all of the local providers that we should all use the same format for recording the childrens progress. At first i was reluctant to change as i had created a file for each child that was unique to our setting. However now we use the format provided by suffolk county council, most of the other providers do the same. This must make it quicker for the next teacher to view as they know where to find the information quickly.

At a meeting with one primary school the age old question was posed " do you actualy look at the files" the answer was "no unless i have concerns with the child". This didn't go down well as we and other providers had changed our format to suit the schools. On the other hand a different primary school requests the files and spends time with us and the children, this creates a great bond between the teachers and our selves as we really feel that we are being listened to, the school has worked hard to promote links with all of the local providers and it works well. What school would i recommend to parents the one that stuffs the files in a draw or the one that takes time with us?

I also think that we are very lucky to have the extra staff ratio in a playgroup compared to a school enviroment. We all love the children and help them along their way this is due to having the high adult ratio which is not there in the schools. Teachers are in a very hard place as they have a class room full of new little people and so much going on with each indvidual child, let alone reading 30 odd files. I agree that they should be read after all of our hard work completing them but what a mission to get through.

The key I have found is communication as we have with one of our feeder schools, by having meetings the new teacher is made aware well in advance of the childrens needs, problems, stengthes etc. this surely is a more easier method than cramming in all of the reading.

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At a recent links meeting with local schools, nurseries and pre-schools this topic came up. apparently the schools have requested an account of a child's PSED attainment only. However as i pointed out this has not been widely distributed as the 'norm' for our borough only as a request from a previous meeting!

I suggested that it be put to the borough team for a final desicion.

You, like me, fill out many assessment sheets which are supposed to be forwarded to the new school and like your schools ours do their own assessments aswell so you begin to feel devalued and think like 'what's the point?'.

The point is that we have clear, accurate fact based evidence of our children's attainment levels and skills in the foundation stage and we should be proud of that.

If the school's wish to ignore this then they are making more work for themselves, and in my view not giving the children what they need to progress. Instead children are having to backtrack on their skills and learning to satisfy the negativity of the teacher's in relation to their mistrust in our abilities to provide correct records!

A thought for you:

'when the new EYPS practitioner's are in place will they listen and respect our judgements then?'

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Welcome to the forum whittingh@aol.com and thanks for your first post. :D

 

Indeed, when the new EYFS curriculum comes in I do beleive it will be mandatory to send transition reports to next settings be it nursery or school, it also states an obligation to communicate with shared settings in the case of a child attending more than one.

 

If we keep in mind the 'children' at the heart of all our decisions on how much and what and to whom we send information to then we will be doing well. I as a preschool owner do home visits prior to a child starting, i feel lost in my knowledge of a child who starts without me having this initial pre-start visit. I would think that teachers may feel the same if they had no knowledge of the children coming into their class. Our reports are brief, over two sides of A4, I also put a photo of the child on the report to help the teacher place a face to the information.

 

Peggy

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In our area it is already a requirement to send a transition report to schools and we are given the forms to complete based on the first 3 profile points and training as to how to assess so we all have a similar standard. still takes a while to complete but at least it is consistent.

 

Also discovered that local schools are given a grant/extra money to cover staff costs to allow visits to preschools and that they all receive this, so should be visiting! found out by accident about the payments and having one school never visit us when a large number of our children move on to them must admit I informed the fact that we never see them!! And yea this school openly afdmits it never looks at the transition documents.

 

Although I can see a major problem with them, as we have to do them in May/June to get to schools for July, the child then does not start school until September 4 or 5 months later, and has had a break from pre-school of 6 weeks as well.

how much the child must change, develop or sometimes regress in that 4 months, we know how hard it is to settle the children back in after a 6 week break even when they have been settled and confident in July, in addition the new environment, numbers, staff, reduced staff numbers etc

 

So for schools to say we do not assess accurately may well be just the fact of the change and time making the child we had at pre-school so different to the one starting school.

 

I have had one child attend a nursery and us and the child was very different between the 2 settings, confident happy chatty and friendly with us, withdrawn shy and lacking in confidence at nursery, she came to us just 2 sessions and nursery 3 full days so more there than with us.

 

Inge

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As a reception teacher I certainly will try my best to read anything I get sent on however as many people have already said children may not demonstrate things they could do in their Nursery setting until Spring term or even Summer term reception year - some children simply take much longer to settle down than others.

Also please bear in mind most people I have spoken to about recent ofsted insepctions (we had ours in Nov) have said that ofsted were very interested in calculating value added therefore took a very close look at baseline assessments from the beg of the reception year. We got a good overall however I believe without my baseline assessments and lovely graph of % of children well below, below and average (didn't have any above or high average) not just FS but the whole school would have been in hot water. Therefore as a child enters reception teachers have got to assess them on where they are now and cannot bear in mind where they where when they left a different setting. For this reason I try to read each child's documentation to get to know them a bit better, learning style, etc however I could not use this info as a basis for my planning - believe me, I wish I could. It would make that first half term a lot easier. However due to ofsted/headteacher accountability reception teachers tend to have to make their own judgements about each child and even when the EYFS comes in children will still be moving settings therefore displaying different behaviour at their new setting so I feel (unfortunatley) we will always have to assess each child as they enter into school.

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quote "For this reason I try to read each child's documentation to get to know them a bit better, learning style, etc "

 

I write my transitional reports with this in mind, ie: within the area of Maths I may write a bit about a recent mathematical activity that the child enjoyed participating in, or that the child embraces maths within routine contexts such as calculating how many more chairs are required at the lunch table. I then indicate a level Yellow, blue or green, at which the child has worked at. Basically my reports show learning styles, teaching methods, childrens dispositions in each area of learning. I never quote a stepping stone or goal, I think these are not 'personal' to a child.

 

Peggy

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Your records Peggy sound just like the ones the NN in our school nursery passes to me. :) Like you she does not quote from the SS, insted giving a lovely pen potrait of each child. They vary in length (depending on the child I suppose) from 1-2 sides of A4 and she also adds a picture. After reading these I feel as if I have a much greater insight into the child and am able to plan for their next steps in learning far better as I know their preferred learning style, environment, etc.

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  • 6 months later...

Hi there everyone

Im new to the forum as i have just become a member.

I'd like to say iam very tired depressed and increadibly stressed at the moment due to the enormous amount of paperwork i have to do.

I work with the 4 year old in the pre-school of a private day nursery i love my job but i fell very disheartend at the moment.

I am expected to write 12 records of transfer within 2 weeks at the same time as my weekly and monthtly activity sheets, topic planning sheet and activities at home sheet for the parents each month.

On top of all this have recentlyi have been told i have to redo all my childrens development folders (to look more attrative to the paying parents)

We used post it note for each development area, i now i have to redo them writing each observastion on the sheets with next steps for each

Fair enough you might say they are paying for the service we provide.

But think about it, i have had these children in my group for a whole year, and before i became Roomleader i was the keyworker for the 3 year olds effectivly ive had most of these children up to 2 years.

All 12 development folders have a great deal of information in them and doing this had caused a great deal of stress.

I have not been given the time to do them at work as we have no supernumary due to staff sickness.

So i have had to do them all in my own time at home for no extra pay.

What has made me even more angry is that our local EYDCP saw fit to tell us just 3 weeks ago that we have to personly hand over all records of transfer at a meet and greet day with the teachers.

Brillliant a really good idea and i agree it is, But the time limit we have been set is simply to short.

Just how much time do they think Nursery Nurses have spare for paperwork??????

Agian i am writing records of transfers in my own time at home on top of everything else

I get a low wage i chose this line of job so i have to except the pay i get, but i do not except that i should be expected to spend so much of my personal time doing paperwork I DO NOT GET PAID FOR THIS!!!

I take my job very seriously and spend alot of my time setting up, preparing, researching, and finding rescources for topics activities and things that will help my children develop learn and enjoy their time at nursery.

And i do this because i wont to, i enjoy seeing the children blossom and develop through their enjoyment due to my hard work.

But there should be a limit to the paper work, i am there to look after and care for the children, make sure they are happy and safe, while helping them develop at thier individual pace.

I AM NOT THERE TO SPEND HOURS APON HOURS DOING PAPERWORK!!!

Does anyone else have the same problem?

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Hi Sarahjp and welcome. Thank you for your first post although I am sorry to hear how rough things are for you at the moment. You do seem to have more than your fair share of paperwork and be especially over loaded at the moment.

 

I am sure you are not the only one to be suffering from paperwork overload, I often feel the paperwork is a 9-5 job and when will the teaching take place!

I think you need to talk to your line manager /head about what is required and how you can make it more manageable, if not this year then for subsequent years/ terms. I would not be happy that anyone working with me was writing up observations after the event as that is not the purpose of the exercise. I would actually be looking at doing away with the postits if I had to rewrite them in a different format. Is there no way you can attach your postits to the forms and indicate next steps in that way?

 

Meanwhile you need to prioritise and do what you can. Look after yourself.

 

Good luck and I hope you feel better for getting it all of your chest!

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Guest Wolfie

Hi Sarah and welcome from me too!

 

You are not alone! The issue of giving staff in nurseries non-contact time in which to complete their paperwork is a tricky one in every setting and I haven't come across many settings that have managed to find an effective solution. When an nursery is open from 8.00-6.00 there is obviously no time when staff are not required to care for the children and this makes giving individuals time to complete planning, observations, assessments, etc difficult as staff ratios need to be maintained and staffing "over" the ratios obviously had financial implications. Maintained nurseries and providers offering sessional care do have time when the children aren't there, which takes the pressure off slightly, but there is still obviously the question of whether the setting can afford to pay staff for hours worked "away" from the children.

 

I really don't know what the answer is. I support a nursery where I've just implemented a new system of observations, assessments and record keeping and the new system requires more regular completion of children's files than previously. I have stressed to the management that they need to recognise this extra workload and to show staff that they value the extra work being done in whatever way possible but giving individuals non-contact time during the week - the one way that staff really want the management to show that they value what is being done - is proving very difficult.

 

It does sound as though you are being given a heavy workload. Haivng to rewrite all your post it notes does seem unnecessary and I'm sure that any early years advisor would say that there is no point in creating extra paperwork which is what that sounds like. I think you should see make a list of your major issues and arrange a meeting with your manager to discuss them. Do you have an early years advisor who comes in regularly? It might well be worth pulling them into the meeting if you can, as they will see the wider picture and have experinece of what other nurseries do in the same situation.

 

Above all, remember that you are by no means the only one in this situation and that you have joined the right forum for advice, support and a friendly ear! Let us know how you are getting on! :o

Edited by Wolfie
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when writing our obs instead of post its we use sticky labels which can be stuck directly into the books and this makes them look much better than the post its do, same system but amy be a compromise for future use to make the folders look better for parents. (one of our local schools does the same.)

 

no answer for reducing the amount of paper work though, we could all do with a solution to that one...

 

Inge

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